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Keane and Jenny's May 2011 WDW Disney Up North, Not A December Trip Report -- Part 8 (Day 7 - Destination D:Walt Disney World 40th, Day 2 - Part 2)


Destination D
Richard Sherman and special guest.
Who: Me, Keane. The person who actually writes this drivel.
     PiC, Partner in Crime. Travelling companion and hanger on.
     BYPT Jenny. A substitute PiC, only shorter.
What: Not a December vacation
Where: Walt Disney World; Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort
Why: D23 Event - Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th
When: May 9-16, 2011

1) Much of what is here is fact, mostly fact, or complete figments of my imagination remembered as fact. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
2) Yeah, this is mostly innuendo and sarcasm. Anything else is a bonus.
3) If you take something in this report seriously and get offended, I will laugh at you. I am not Disney. You will not get free park tickets, food, fastpasses or guest assistance cards.
4) Please remember to take all your personal belongings, and have a magical Disney Day!

Thank you.

Day 7, May 15
Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th. Day 2. -- Part 2

Post dinner, was the closing event. We went up to the room, and I grabbed a bottle of water, and we got down to the convention center about 20-30 minutes before they opened the doors. Didn't matter, the line was already long. This was the part of the event that everyone was looking forward to.

The doors to the ballroom open, and the first 30 people in line *run* into the ballroom to get a good seat. How ambitious. We weave through the queue, and by the time we get in, the pre-show has already started. The ballroom is the most crowded I have seen it thus far.

The pre-show was a guy named Denny Zavett, who was a cm that performed on the riverboat Lily. He had a *wonderful* version of The Battle of New Orleans, which could only be sung by a cast member. I will have to try to track a copy of this tune down.

Denny Zavett
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The Kids of the Kingdom were next, doing a rendition of When You Wish Upon A Star. I think.

Kids of the Kingdom
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Then the Main Street Band literally marched in. They performed three or four tunes, then literally marched out.

The Main Street Marching Band
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But the main event of the evening, was Richard Sherman. I've held this up as one of the primary reasons I was going to Destination D, and was not disappointed.

Tim O'Day introduced and interviewed Richard Sherman. If the name Mancow, the shock-jock from Chicago means anything to you, he was at the opening of Mary Poppins (the play) in Chicago, and Richard Sherman was there. Mancow was able to talk him into coming on the radio, and I heard the most interesting 15 minutes of radio, the kind for which you stay in your car after you're at your destination, just to hear the rest of the segment. Mancow would mention his favorite Sherman Brother's song, and Dick would play the first stanza.

This was a lot like that radio segment, only instead of throwing a song out, he did one of his Dad's songs (You Gotta Be A Football Hero), to some of their early hits (You're Sixteen), to all of their Disney Movies, and finishing with their influence in the Parks. Instead of 15 minutes, it was an hour and fifteen minutes of Disney hit after Disney hit. They even gave tribute to Disney's only Non-Disney movie hit, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. They even showed a clip from 'the boys' and didn't plug the DVD.

He was greeted with a standing ovation.

He seemed a little stiff, maybe a little hesitant for the first 10 minutes, but then really got into the spirit of who he was playing for, and he got 20 years younger.

There were several songs he had problems with, since he never plays them anymore, like the Orange Bird song from the 70's, where he had to have a cheat sheet to remember the words. Or stumbling on Ugly Bug Ball from Summer Magic.

His story relating the Tiki Room, when Walt was first testing it out, all his friends and others would see it and be puzzled on what they were seeing. It had no story, just everything in the room came alive. So Walt brought the Sherman Brothers to see the show, and they couldn't figure it out either, and asked Walt what it was about, and he said, "You're going to write a song to explain all this!" And thus, the song was born.

"it's a small world" at the 1964 World's Fair, had each group of dolls from each country singing their national anthem, and it turned out in the end to be terrible, just a bunch of noise. So Walt brought in the Sherman Brothers, and told them, "And you're going to write a song to explain all this!"

And, of course, the closing of the Sherman segment with an appearance by Dreamfinder and Figment. At least someone broke the rules...

Of all of the Disney Legends, perhaps more so than anyone else in the Disney Company, Richard and Robert Sherman were respected by Walt Disney. That should say it all, don't you think?

(If you want to know the whole story, go and buy (or rent) a copy of "the boys, the Sherman brothers' story" like Jenny sez I did. It is a requisite piece of Disney history. Make sure you watch the extras.)

Richard Sherman
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Disney appropriately closed Magic Journeys with those who are ultimately responsible for the parks, the Cast Members. First was Billy Flanigan, and a woman who no one seems to know the name of (if you recognize her, let me know and I'll update) with Carol Stein on piano, doing Golden Dreams from American Adventure. The finale was done by Encore!, the Walt Disney World Cast Choir and Band. (Jenny wants to say orchestra, since they had strings, but I think they call themselves a band...) The closing number was the freeform version of Celebrate the Future Hand In Hand from the Millennium celebration.

Appropriately, everyone came out to take a bow at the end. Saying it was magical might be too cliche, but that's what it was. It was the perfect way to end the event.

Billy Flanigan and ??? with Carol Stein on piano
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Encore!, the Walt Disney World Cast Choir and Band
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Destination D Closing Thoughts

Destination D exceeded all my expectations. A couple thousand fans gathered together to celebrate Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary, and to honor those who help create a place that hold a special place in all our hearts. Stories and histories told by the the personalities who made that very history, in a way that hadn't been done before. (Except perhaps, for Disneyland's 55th anniversary, but that was their celebration. This one was ours.)

It was also to honor the vision Walt Disney had for his "Florida Project" in detail that I hadn't seen before. All of the artwork and plans from that time were dusted off and presented to the masses, some of which, for the first time.

It wasn't just how-it-came-to-be, but why it is what it is. The detail put in the tiniest of places. The canals should never be a straight line.

As a history buff, it put a lot of what Walt Disney World is in perspective. If it wasn't for Disneyland, Walt would probably have never done the rides for the New York World's Fair, which was really the impetus for Walt Disney World, and the Experimental Prototype Community.

I was a good boy and didn't take pictures when asked not to, and even resisted the temptation to take my MP3 player into the convention center, and accidentally turn on the voice recorder. I'm not sure if I regret that decision or not. In hindsight, I would have like a recording of Richard Sherman. It's not like I'd release it...

Disney did record it all, and it's good that some of these stories have been heard and recorded, because maybe, just maybe, people won't forget what Walt Disney World was supposed to be, and why it is what it is today.

It does prove that Walt was a visionary, one who's life was tragically cut too short. No one knows where Epcot Center would have gone if Walt lived to see its completion. I admit that compared to what his grand vision of his Florida property was, is a half-assed product we call Walt Disney World. But if what we have is the half-assed version, I can only imagine what the real thing would have been.

The concert over, we exit the ballroom for the last time, and Jenny passes the elevators, and walks toward the far door.

Flashback to earlier in the weekend, sometime, I forget when, Jenny was talking about her first experience she had with Cathy (see Dec 2010 trip report) on Indy speedway. I noted I'd never been on it. At least that I remember. (Hey! I might have been on it in 1977. Do you think I'm drinking all the time at WDW?)

"Where are we going?"

"To the Magic Kingdom! We're going to go on the Indy Speedway"

Huzzah! I only want to drive 800 miles tomorrow!

We walk to the park. As we're walking the Electrical Water Pageant is making its way past Magic Kingdom.

We enter the park, and everyone else is leaving. I like it when that happens. We turn right into Tomorrowland, and of course get distracted by Buzz. We are both galactic wimps. If we had to save the world, Zurg would be having children by now. I should mention I won by like 8000 points. After all, it's not how you play the game, but whether you win or not. At the load area, a small kid is having problems getting on the...uh...ride vehicles, and our load CM put's up his hand and the ride comes to a stop for maybe 15 or 20 seconds. I remark to the CM that all he has to do is lift his hand and I could get a few thousand more points? We didn't stop during the ride. I don't think he got my hint.

We're out of Buzz, and get distracted by the People Mover, and it's once around the track. I take pictures of the staircase that goes up from the People Mover's main floor. Earlier, one of the Imagineers said the inspiration for the odd geometric shapes on an art panel in Mouse Gear was inspired by the shape of this stair. Obscure, yes? All the lights are turned on inside the tunnels. Whazzup wit' dat? It's supposed to be dark...

We actually do get to Indy Speedway, and I am to be the one to show how skilled a driver I am. Not. The steering (no direct rack here) is the most squirrelly setup I've ever seen (maybe a bunch of toe-out?), and the gas pedal has a 20 lb. spring under it. The car in front of me is a faster car. I feel cheated. I do bring the car to a smooth stop though. I sure am glad the press go - let up stop single petal didn't make it into any modern cars...

I also mentioned at some point, that I never made it back to fantasyland, after the construction started, so we took a stroll that way. You can see Beast's castle from the Contemp, but... it's dark, and you can barely make it out. Had it been daytime...

Magic Kingdom
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Interestingly, the park is now pretty much empty. Maybe because it's a Sunday night EMH. We begin to have to show our room cards. I feel like taking one I have from 2006 with me next time and use it during EMH. Pooh was maybe a 10 minute wait. Having just heard Winnie the Pooh played and sung by Richard Sherman just an hour ago, hearing it on the ride was very cool. Yes, I was still geeking out.

Philharmagic was next because it was there, and we defy the CM and sit in the middle of our row. All 8 to 10 of us. I heard the guy a couple seats down say his seat was wet. Oh look, a newbie. This'll be fun. He doesn't bite by reaching for Ariel's thing-a-ma-bobs. I think Ariel has interesting thing-a-ma-bobs. (Please see Disclaimer 3 at the top of this post. Thank you.)

Peter pan was a 10 or 15 minute wait, so I went on it for the first time in years. A little pixie dust...and there you are.

Of course, we finished the night with Jenny's favorite, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We get down to the end of the queue, and we're almost walk-on's but after the unload, a train gets to go to bed after a long day, and goes backwards down the track. I remark that I don't want to go on a coaster that going backwards. We are on the next train, and go for a wiiiiild ride.

We walk through an empty Adventureland, to the hub, look at the castle one last time, and walk to the exit.

As we near the train station, there's one of those guys that draw on the street with water. He finishes drawing Eeyore. We applaud.

With that, we say our good-byes to the Magic Kingdom, Jenny listens to me whine a while that I don't want to go, and we catch the monorail back to the hotel.

A fitting way to end a trip to Walt Disney World.

Don't you think?
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End May 2011 Trip Report - Part 8.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

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